Did I mention it was August?
Looking back, all I can say is that we were young, dumb, and in love.
It’s the only explanation for willingly moving into a 12X60 corrugated aluminum box without an air conditioner.
After our honeymoon (to Busch Gardens—more on that in another dispatch), we officially moved in.
And a day or two after that the question on both our lips was, “What were we thinking?”.
It was awful.
But the worst part was knowing that there was no relief to this muggy hell until the fall.
I stuck it out as long as I could and longer than most would. But after a few weeks with the knowledge that it would be months before I would be cool and comfortable, I was done. I informed my groom I was going to my parent’s house, and would happily return when we had an air conditioner.
He knew I was serious. I ultimately never spent a night away, because after I told him of my plans, we went out and bought a small window unit.
We put it in our bedroom. Whenever we came home, we’d make a beeline for our bedroom, shedding our clothes as we ran. There, in our birthday suits, we’d turn it on, crank it to high, and lay on the bed; sweaty, but grateful for the cool.
Then one day, Petey’s mom bought us a second, larger AC at a garage sale. It was pretty; made in the art deco style, fashioned of cellulose in a lovely shade of celadon green. Since it was a more powerful unit, we decided to put it in the main area of the house and install it in the kitchen window.
Since we didn’t yet own a ladder, we did the installation from inside the trailer.
I imagine, Gentle Reader, that you’ve guessed where I’m going with this tale.
We were just about done—it only needed a few minute adjustments when it happened. It fell outside through the window to the ground, some seven feet below.
We ran outside to inventory the wreckage. It seemed to be salvageable, with mainly casing damage. Petey grabbed it while I gathered up AC shards. We agreed that the machine was not gonna die—not today, and not on our watch.
We set the unit and its pieces on the kitchen floor, broke out the super glue, and got to work.
It was hot work; after a while, we stripped down to our underwear and the sweat was still dripping off us. It was like doing a jigsaw puzzle on the sun. After what seemed like decades, we ran out of both glue and broken pieces. We carefully put it in the window, secured it, and turned it on.
But it wasn’t exactly up to factory specs. Its cooling capacity was somewhat diminished. And it made sounds.
At low, it groaned like a chorus of septuagenarians getting up from Lazy Boy Recliners in unison. On the medium setting, it acquired the squeal of a tween at a Taylor Swift concert. And on the rare occasion we set it to high, it rattled like the breathing of a squad of consumptive Victorian heroines.
The AC’s did their job. And soon the weather cooled and the units were put into storage for the winter.
Then, in December, Elizabeth City experienced the coldest stretch in many years. And Petey and I could be found chasing around town for some space heaters to keep us alive.
Thanks for your time.
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